Bruins set to start another chase of Stanley Cup

Boston Bruins President Cam Neely didn’t watch the Chicago
Blackhawks raise their Stanley Cup banner to the rafters before
their season opener.

He’s eager to begin another run at the NHL championship and
attend a similar ceremony on his team’s ice next year.

”You have a hard time watching someone else win the Cup and
raise a banner,” Neely said Wednesday. ”So I didn’t watch it.
Hopefully we’ll be watching one in the near future here.”

The Bruins came close last season.

They were leading the Blackhawks 2-1 in Game 6 of the finals
before giving up two goals in the last 76 seconds, allowing the
Chicago players to skate with the Stanley Cup on Boston ice.

On Thursday night they begin pursuit of their second Cup in four
years when they open the season at home against the Tampa Bay
Lightning.

”I guess the keynote is to say we’re not going to play for
second place,” Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs said. ”We’re here to
win. I think that the organization is in a good place to do that. I
think we’ve got the right combination of things. We have a strong
team that should compete, should be a winner.”

The Bruins return a team heavy on players who’ve been a part of
the organization for two lengthy playoff runs the past three
seasons.

They did add Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson to play right wing
on the top two lines. Reilly Smith, obtained with Eriksson in a
trade that sent Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars, figures to be
part of the third line. Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski, who both
emerged as NHL-caliber defensemen in the playoffs, will begin the
season with the team. Chad Johnson is a newcomer as the backup to
goalie Tuukka Rask.

Boston went 6-1 in exhibition games, and coach Claude Julien is
confident his team is prepared to start the season.

”I think we’re in a good place right now,” Julien said. ”I
liked what I saw the last few days. (In) practice today, guys were
sharp; they were excited. I think we’re ready to go there. Even
though we had some new faces, what I saw in the preseason I really
liked. Those guys have adjusted well quickly. And, if anything,
they’re only going to get better. So I’m pretty happy with where we
are right now, knowing that it’ll only get better.”

The Bruins already are dealing with injuries. Forward Carl
Soderberg hasn’t skated since injuring his ankle in the preseason
finale last Friday. He is on injured reserve and will be
unavailable for the season opener. Top-line center David Krejci
skated Wednesday for the first time since back spasms kept him from
playing in that same game against the Winnipeg Jets. Krejci will be
a game-time decision to face the Lightning.

The Bruins nearly won the Stanley Cup despite numerous injuries
to center Patrice Bergeron in the Cup finals and a broken leg in
the Eastern Conference finals that ended center Gregory Campbell’s
season.

”You’ve got to get the right breaks, guys got to stay healthy
and you’ve got to get those lucky bounces,” left wing Brad
Marchand said. ”And, at the same time, you’ve got to have
everybody playing their best. It’s definitely very tough to do, but
I think the fans in Boston all expect it and our management and
coaching staff expect the same thing, so that’s what we expect as
well and we won’t be happy unless we reach those goals.”